There are many different inspections that a buyer can choose to have performed when buying a home. When you are purchasing a home in the country it is important for you to know that you can have any and all inspections that you deem necessary. However, if you are new to the Real Estate market you may be a little unsure of what inspections you should schedule. With rural properties, it is important to make sure that certain inspections are done because on rural properties there are many issues that may arise, such as un-permitted work, pest, well, and septic issues.

Here are the top 5 inspections to consider when you are investing in rural property:

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#1 Home Inspection

A Home inspection is an examination of the condition of a home. A Home Inspector will examine the interior and exterior, and write a report that includes all of their findings. Inspectors will check the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, electrical, and many other aspects of buildings. They look for improper building practices, those items that require extensive repairs, items that are general maintenance issues, as well as some fire and safety issues. These inspectors have gone through immense training and multiple homes, identifying everything that is or could potentially be an issue and disclosing to the buyers and sellers. Getting a home inspection done is very important on rural properties because homes in the country may have had work done without permits and it allows you to see things that the seller may not have noticed or has failed to disclose.

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#2 Pest Inspection

A Wood Destroying Pest Inspection is one of the most important inspections that you can have done on your home in the country because country homes tend to be exposed to the elements more than homes in the city. The inspection is performed in order to seek out wood destroying pests such as termites, wood infesting beetles, rot fungus, and carpenter ants. The inspector will look for evidence of these pests such as damaged wood, dead insects, live insects, or termite tubes. These things combined with conductive conditions such as standing water or earth to wood contact, as well as plumbing leaks, will be used to determine if there are any wood-destroying pests in the home. Whether or not the inspector finds any evidence of pests in the home they will compile what they have found into a report that highlights any past, present or potential damage that has or could occur on the home due to pests. A good thing to ask your pest inspector is to check any outer buildings such as detached garages and sheds as they are typically not included in a pest inspection unless requested.

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#3 Well Inspection

A Well Inspector will be looking at a number of different items related to water quality and productivity. First, they are going to check water pressure, water quality and then the inspector will check the water production or gallons per minute.  They will also check to make sure that the well continually produces that much per minute over a few hours. If the well does not perform according to minimum standards it is important to look into Hydro-fraction or drilling a new well, which can get expensive. Another thing that a Well Inspector will look at is the quality of the water in the well to make sure it is meeting the minimum standards under the EPA guidelines. Some issues that may arise are toxins or heavy metals, such as mercury or iron. Also, they will check to see if the water is hard or soft. If the water is too hard or if it does not meet the minimum standards for safe drinking water then the installation of a filter and/or a softener system is all that is needed to rectify this problem.

#4 Septic Inspection

A Septic Inspection is very important to get with rural properties because if the septic fails, it will be expensive and stressful to have it replaced. If the property is waterfront then it may actually be impossible to replace due to the implication of new stricter laws concerning the protection of rivers, lakes, and creeks. A Septic system typically consists of a tank that has two sides, one for solids and one for liquids, and leech lines that redirect the liquids back into the soil to fertilize the earth. These are very common in areas that are not on city sewer. A Septic inspector will often look to see if the tank has been recently pumped, that the tank is intact, that the leech lines are not hindered in any way, and that there are no foreign objects such as tree roots or cement that would interfere with the tank's operation. The septic inspector will provide a report that outlines exactly what they did and what they found. Dysfunctional septic systems can get very costly so it is important that you review the report carefully.

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#5 Preliminary Title Report/Survey

When you open escrow the title company will do a title search in order to find out what types of liens, encumbrances, judgments, etc. may be clouding the title. This report will tell you if there are any easements for anything or gives anyone the right to be on the property. It will also tell you what the title insurance will not cover, such as unpaid property taxes and easements. Although this will often give you a good idea of what is going on with the property, something that it may not tell you is that it is very common in rural properties to have a house or the neighbors house on or over the property line. Getting a professional survey done is a good idea because then you can know for sure if the property you are buying contains just that house and if it is completely on that property. This is vital because you don't want to be the person that buys a property with a house that is two feet on the neighbor's property, and then have the neighbor say that they won't give you an easement and that they want that part of the house removed. This can get costly and very stressful so protect yourself by getting a survey done.

These are the top 5 inspections that you should consider when investing in rural property. Keep in mind that no property is perfect and especially rural properties tend to be older and have more flaws. However, many of these flaws are easily remedied and the result of living in a rural area is worth it!

David R. Millar has 13 years of experience in rural real estate. He specializes in Riverfront vacation rentals for sale on the Russian River. If you are buying or selling a home on the Russian River call or text 707-217-1786 or email David at We are available for you 24/7!